Video games – Powerful tool and source of inspiration for you writers

Video games is one of the few entertainment mediums that actively immerse you into their world through the combination of graphics, audio, video, and your interaction with it. A well designed video game with properly crafted story, e.g. Horizon Zero Dawn, is a good complement if not the better option if you are looking for inspirations for your next piece of writing, especially if you are a fiction writer.

Fiction writing for me truly started during my secondary school days when I wrote fan fictions based on a video game franchise I played. It gave me a strong base to start from so that I only focus on telling a story with existing characters or elements. It allowed me to train myself to tell a story.

Through the act of playing video games and immersing yourself in them, you can picked up a lot of things subconsciously that included the theme of the game, environment designs, character designs and behaviors, and the message, if any, that it is trying to tell you.

It was those materials that enabled me to start a series of text-based role-playing games where I honed my planning and team work skills. The planning skill subsequently enabled me to create ideas for trilogies. Sad to say, those text-based role-playing games are no longer available online because the players, including myself, have moved on with more important things in life. But there were many important lessons learnt. Whether I can recall those lessons consciously is another matter.

Video games can also help you to discover yourself. One of it is teasing out your preferences or maybe even reinforce what you already know. In my case, after having played so many different titles, I found myself gravitating towards games that are either space opera, military actions, mystery, exploration, supernatural powers, or unconventional societies. Sometimes you can find games with a combination of those themes. Some examples are Mass Effect, Halo, and Starcraft. So when it comes to my fiction writing, you will also find aspects of those themes because I truly enjoy those. And playing those games help to expand your mind to the possibilities.

In addition, I also enjoy games that featured darker themes like extreme violence, torture, horror, and sexual references. Some examples of those games are Condemned: Criminal Origins, F.E.A.R, and Resident Evil. These days, my writing also contain those elements because I want the readers to feel concerned, worried or dreadful as they flipped the pages.

They can also help you to break through writer’s block by taking your mind away from writing. It’s no different from going out for a stroll in the park but with the added advantage of it could give you a sudden burst of ideas that you could subsequently used. There were times when I was running on empty, after playing a couple hours of video games, I found myself inspired or motivated to write more.

Recently, I stopped playing video games for two months and found myself practically running on empty again. What I already have in my head are ideas that I have long harbored but they aren’t useful in my current writing. I tried reading a fiction book written by someone but it don’t seem to do much to me. I suspect it was because of the style of writing and the overall direction of the story doesn’t really interest me. So it’s not the book’s fault.

I figured I probably should sign in to my Steam account and start getting some games to play to re-inspire me or re-motivate me again.

Now, I’m not going to pretend I’m Stephen King or any of those New York Times bestsellers. Who I am is a writer who needs a balance between creating and consuming. Video games just so happen to be powerful source of inspiration and entertainment for me. It’s so much better than watching a movie or a show on Netflix. Reading books is ranked second when it comes to source of inspiration and entertainment.

Video game fan-fiction – best training shoes for creative writing

You played that video game and fell in love with it. You loved the characters, the story, and the whole game universe. It made you read everything there is to read about the game. The game became a franchise and you played every single title ever released.

I know because I was a fan of the Command and Conquer series. I searched through the web for any juicy bits of information about the in-game universe as I could

Then you thought about what ifs. What if this specific game character was on this mission. What if the ending wasn’t like this. It goes on and on. There’s just so much ideas and you decided to just write.

That’s how I discovered my love for creative writing. I enjoyed drafting out short stories about some of the in-game characters and expanding it. I remember vividly how I wrote pages after pages in those exercise books I got when I was still in secondary school. I had callouses between my index finger and thumb because I gripped my pen too hard and wrote almost everyday for two months.

One good thing about fan fictions is that the canon universe is already established by some other people. It’s less taunting than you trying to create a whole universe from scratch. For brand new stories, it takes a lot more effort on your part to think about the world, the characters, etc. I know because I do write fictions. Sometimes it could get so overwhelming that you decided not to write at all. For fan fictions, you could easily borrow some of the in-game elements as part of your writing. That was what I did and that made it easy for me to focus on the story I want to tell.

The other thing is you can get it out there much easier especially if you are a true fan. You will know where are the best places to publish you work. As I was a fan of the Command and Conquer series, I know there were some fan sites that allow you to submit fan fictions. People are less judging of the work you put out unless the story you wrote is totally out of the game canon universe. Well, at least that’s how I remember it.

If you aren’t a fan, it would be pretty scary to publish your writings online on some random blog or platforms like Medium. It doesn’t matter if you are a fifteen year or a sixty year old. That sense of dread of publishing your work for the first time is just scary. I know because I still have that lingering feeling even after I have published some articles online and hundreds of personal journals on my blog.

So go find a video game that you love so much. Be a fan and find out everything there is to know. Then start writing your own fan fictions about some of the characters or your own interpretations of in-game events. You can even put yourself as a main character in your fan fiction. Focus on the story you want to tell and hit that publish button as part of your training.

Journal #203 – Pushing it through and re-prioritize

There are days when I actually wonder what I am doing. When I’m not careful and lose focus or lose sight of what I want to do, I actually will slip into mild depression.

Three-quarters of my day from Monday to Friday are taken up by my day job, writing codes to implement features possibly used by the customer. Yes, the customer paid my company and they paid me to do a job. And that’s all it is really about. I don’t derive any meaning or purpose from it.

With that, when I finally do get home, I get so tired that I couldn’t find any inspiration to write anything. The so-called pragmatic stuff  sucked out all my imaginative creative juices. This is why documenting my day is part of my writing to ensure consistency when it comes to writing. It’s part of maintaining a habit.

Other than my day job, I do have a side hustle, doing freelance software development too, where I am primarily maintaining and enhancing a software which I built for a company years ago. Well, that too also drain what’s left of my energy and it’s why I don’t really spent a ton of time on it. I focus implementing quick fixes and call it a day. Then I get paid for it.

But that’s not to say I shouldn’t make time for writing other stuff. I still want to write a science-fiction novel and put it out there for people to read.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to reduce the amount of time I spend on consuming content and spend at least an hour to two writing chunks of that science-fiction novel after I get home from work.

All of us got the same twenty-four hours and we just got to make time to do something before we regret it.

Daily Journal – Aug 11, 2017

This is my 127th journal.

Despite me sleeping at around 0200hrs, I set the alarm clock to wake me up at 0730 hrs this morning. I intended to go to my client’s office to do some more work.

I spent one quarter of my time in the client’s office doing research into domain-driven design and the rest doing code refactoring and implementation.

My activity for today aside, I noticed that I no longer have the desire to spent the next few years of my life doing software development. I don’t even feel like doing any software work now except for the sake of money. Concurrently, I’m putting my plans into action and moving myself into the creative line of work.

Anyway, I left the client’s office at around 1710hrs and went to Uniqlo @ Jurong Point. Decided to get two plain-colored T-shirts and a black sweat pants.

These are part of my minimalistic lifestyle and serve as my uniform.

I got home at around 1830hrs, showered, and waited for dinner. In the meantime, I was looking for courses on Creative Writing, and career opportunities that are not related to software development. Yes, I want to try something else now and seeing it as a career change.

After dinner, I watched season 3, episode 7 of Zoo (TV Series).

I will probably go to bed early today as I need to wake up early tomorrow for a drone piloting course that starts at 9am sharp and ends at 6pm. I will do my best to prepare the journal for tomorrow with photos and videos.

That’s all for now.

Here I conclude my journal for today.